Cover photo for Reverend John Thomas Wells, Sr.'s Obituary
Reverend John Thomas Wells, Sr. Profile Photo

Reverend John Thomas Wells, Sr.

May 31, 1941 — June 10, 2024

Woodway, Texas

Reverend John Thomas Wells, Sr.

Father Wells was born in Harmony, Kentucky to Jack Dale and Eila Shirley (Mason) Wells. An Army Brat, he grew up on military posts in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kentucky, New York, and Germany, eventually graduating from East High School in Denver, CO in 1959.

An ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate with a degree in Mathematics from Eastern Kentucky State College, in 1964 he began a 25-year Army career as an armored cavalry officer, paratrooper, and helicopter pilot. He served two combat tours in Vietnam, two tours in Germany and two tours in Korea. While on active duty he earned a Master of Science degree in Public Administration and was selected to attend both the US Army Command and General Staff College and the US Army War College.

He retired with the rank of Colonel in 1989 after commanding units at platoon, company and battalion levels and serving on staff at battalion, division, field army, major command, the Army General Staff (the Pentagon), and international headquarters. His military decorations include the Silver Star, two Legion of Merit medals, six Bronze Star medals, the Purple Heart, three Meritorious Service Medals and five awards of the Air Medal. His foreign decorations include the Republic of Korea Order of National Security Merit, Sam-il Medal, and from the Republic of Vietnam, the Cross of Gallantry with Palm and the Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star.

In 1995 Father Wells entered the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, earning a Master of Divinity degree in 1998. While a seminarian, he served three months as preacher at St. Stephen's Church in Fort Stockton, TX where he also had a daily devotional broadcast on the local radio station. After ordination, he served churches in Jasper, Woodville, and lastly in Waco, where for 10 years he was Rector of Holy Spirit Episcopal Church. At the diocesan level he was Dean of both the Southeast and Northwest Convocations, was a board member of the Episcopal Foundation, and for five years was the Diocese of Texas representative to Episcopal Relief and Development. After retiring in 2013 Father Wells continued serving the Church, assisting and supplying in parishes throughout the Diocese of Texas and the Diocese of Dallas.

His civic service locally included the Woodway Planning & Zoning Commission, volunteer chaplain for the Waco Police Department (where he was awarded the Police Lifesaving Award), the 100 Club of McLennan County, and the McLennan County Veterans Association. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Military Officers Association of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Father Wells is survived by his wife, Su of Woodway; sons William H. Wells and wife Jin of Woodway, John T. Wells, Jr of Marion, IA; daughters Dr. Jennifer H. Wells of Waco, Angela Christiansen and husband Peter of Marion, IA; sisters Eila Dale Sheehan and husband Michael of Tulsa, OK, Susan Howard and husband Richard of Austin, Ann Stewart and husband Rus of Surf City, NC; sisters-in-law Han June Su of Seoul, Korea; grandchildren Myles Christiansen of Marion, IA, John Mason Leverington and Liliana Su Leverington of Belton; nieces Katherine Lewis and husband Daniel of Austin, Rebecca Stewart of Surf City, NC, Cathleen Dixon of Ft Smith, AR, Elizabeth Sheehan of Broken Arrow, OK; and grand-nephew Kang Giu Bin of Seoul, Korea.

His family would like to thank Jennifer of Accent Hospice, Dr Browder and Missy of Browder Clinic, Larry, Tonya, and Kris of Grace Gardens.

Funeral Service will be 11am, Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, 515 Columbus Ave, Waco, Texas. 

If desiring, please consider memorial contributions to St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

Past Services

Funeral Service

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Saint Paul's Episcopal Church

515 Columbus Ave, Waco, TX 76701


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